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DA earmarks P474-M for enhancement of agriculture in Northern Samar

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
December 18, 2011

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The Department of Agriculture is allotting some P474 million to ensure the enhancement of agricultural productivity in Northern Samar.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala made the commitment during his recent visit in Las Navas, Northern Samar where he also forged an agreement with the Department of Social Welfare and Development to undertake an initiative called “Agrikulturang Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program,” DA-8 RED Antonio Gerundio informed.

Of the P474 million, Secretary Alcala said P209 million is earmarked as an additional fund to complete the irrigation component of the Help for Catubig Agricultural Advancement Project (HCAAP).

HCAAP is expected to irrigate 4,550 hectares, and benefit more than 1,600 farm families in the towns of Catubig and Las Navas, Northern Samar.

Secretary Alcala said the irrigation project will double the province’s irrigated area to more than 9,000 hectares, from the current 4,500 hectares, and subsequently increase its annual palay production pegged at 98,300 metric tons (MT) in 2010.

The irrigation project, the DA Secretary noted, could generate an additional harvest of about 40,950 MT, at two crops a year and an average harvest of 4.5 MT per hectare per cropping.

In 2010, Northern Samar produced 98,380 MT of palay from 38,183 hectares, of which 88 percent is rainfed. The province contributed 10 percent to the total eastern Visayas palay harvest of 964,145 MT last year.

Secretary Alcala also allotted P230 million for the rehabilitation and construction of other irrigation projects, and P35 million for farm-to-market roads in second district of Northern Samar.

In the same occasion, Secretary Alcala disclosed the Agency’s plan to put up some very vital infrastructures such us the setting up of a PhilRice Satellite Office and a multi-million state-of-the-art rice processing complex in Catubig Valley that will house modern rice milling and drying facilities.

The Agrikulturang Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program is meant to “uplift” Eastern Visayas farmers, fishers and rural folk from poverty.

The poverty alleviation project is aimed at enhancing agricultural productivity, and provides sustainable livelihood and short-term jobs to marginal families, particularly those engaged in rice, corn, coconut, and sugar-cane production, and municipal fishing.

It seeks to improve the agricultural productivity and income of marginal coconut farm families; construct paddy dikes, irrigation canals and service roads in undeveloped or unutilized farmlands, and at the same time, generate additional employment; and implement livelihood projects to benefit marginal fisher folk families.

During the launching at Las Navas, DA and DSWD have awarded several farm equipment, tools and inputs to hundreds of family-beneficiaries. From the DA, they also received three units of hand tractors, 100 pieces of hand tools, and 100 bags of certified rice seeds; and from the DSWD, two units of hand tractors, and livelihood project funds.

In addition, the DA through the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) will construct a diversion dam in Barangay Guba, Catarman town, and implement an expanded modified rapid composting project in the province, as part of the DA’s organic agriculture program.